The Supreme Court may have the final say on legal issues, but the public will ultimately decide Obamacare’s fate. Polls show the American people want this big-government statute off the books, so their only hope now is to take the issue to the ballot box.
Mitt Romney wisely avoided basing his arguments against Obamacare on its constitutionality. Instead, he argued that President Obama’s signature achievement was just bad law. “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States, and that is I will act to repeal Obamacare,” the former Massachusetts governor said after the ruling. The Republican candidate promised relief by granting Obamacare waivers to all 50 states. He would then work with Congress to craft alternative health care solutions.
A confident-sounding Mr. Obama jabbed at his competitor in a television address, noting that Mr. Romney has supported individual-mandate provisions in the past. The president also moved quickly to further entrench his program. “We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can,” Mr. Obama read from the teleprompter. “But what we won’t do - what the country can’t afford to do - is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, scheduled a July 11 vote on full repeal. This would be a purely symbolic move since the Republican-controlled House already has passed 30 bills that repeal, dismantle or defund Obamacare, only to see them die in the Senate. Nevertheless, House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed not to accept any half-measures or workarounds. “There’s a lot of resolve amongst our colleagues and amongst the American people to stop a law that’s hurting our economy, driving up the cost of health care and making it more difficult for employers to hire new workers,” said the Ohio Republican.
While Mr. Boehner warned his conference last week about “spiking the ball” if the Supreme Court decision came down in their favor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chose to gloat. “It was, as you know, no surprise to us,” the California Democrat said while smiling broadly throughout her press conference. “It was just a question of what the vote would be. And with that confidence, we happily embraced the decision that came down.”
Full repeal can’t happen without the consent of the Democratic-controlled upper chamber, and Majority Leader Harry Reid was resolute after the ruling. “The Supreme Court has spoken,” said the Nevada Democrat. “The matter is settled.” For his part, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged that if Republicans retake the Senate, repeal of the health care law would be the first vote next year.
That leaves one option for Americans unhappy with the government takeover of our health care system. They must head to the voting booth in November to place both the White House and the Senate under new management.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.